NYT Articles on Big Tech’s Big Problems

Forget Washington. Facebook’s Problems Abroad Are Far More Disturbing

This past week, my colleagues at The Times reported on the ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims, an ethnic minority in Myanmar that has been subjected to brutal violence and mass displacement. Violence against the Rohingya has been fueled, in part, by misinformation and anti-Rohingya propaganda spread on Facebook, which is used as a primary news source by many people in the country. Doctored photos and unfounded rumors have gone viral on Facebook, including many shared by official government and military accounts.

Once Saviors, Now Threats

At the start of this decade, the Arab Spring blossomed with the help of social media. That is the sort of story the tech industry loves to tell about itself: It is bringing freedom, enlightenment and a better future for all mankind.

Now there is a new narrative.

Amidst US Social Media troubles, China is feeling smart

In the United States, some of the world’s most powerful technology companies face rising pressure to do more to fight false information and stop foreign infiltration.

China, however, has watchdogs…

Have Facebook and other favorite companies created Frankenstein’s Monster?

…in response to a ProPublica report that Facebook enabled advertisers to target users with offensive terms like “Jew hater,” Sheryl Sandberg, the company’s chief operating officer, apologized and vowed that the company would adjust its ad-buying tools to prevent similar problems in the future.

As I read her statement, my eyes lingered over one line in particular:

“We never intended or anticipated this functionality being used this way — and that is on us,” Ms. Sandberg wrote.

The Big Five Tech Companies want to Rule Entertainment

Now that world is scrambling to figure out what to do about them. And it is discovering that the changes they are unleashing — in the economy, in civic and political life, in arts and entertainment, and in our tech-addled psyches — are not simple to comprehend, let alone to limit.

The Putin Problem

The Orange Revolution in Ukraine exacerbated the situation. In Moscow’s reading, the United States had masterminded the revolution to install a pro-Western figure as president over the candidate endorsed by Putin. Putin soon came to view the revolution in Ukraine as a dress rehearsal for regime change in Russia itself. Putin believed it was part of the United States’ larger effort to construct a unipolar world based on its values and interests, a world that it could dominate with little regard for other major powers. “It is extremely dangerous,” he noted shortly after the Orange Revolution, “to attempt to rebuild modern civilization, which God has created to be diverse and multifaceted, according to the barracks principles of a unipolar world.”

Boston Review